A friend turned to me yesterday and told me that at the end of every year she gets together with another group of friends to talk about one important thing that happened each month. It’s a way for them to reflect and figure out how they grew, and what really happened that year.
My first reaction was, "How do you remember all of that?"
She told me it was photos, calendars, and even Facebook that helped them recall the significant moments that happened month by month.
We take photos all the time, often forgetting that hundreds of images are sitting on our phones or our hard drives. (I have 5,147 sitting on my phone right now). Cliché as it may seem, it’s really at the moment that you step back and look at it all that you really answer the question “What just happened?”
Here’s our look back at what happened this year in photography, broken down into projects by pioneering photographers, the burgeoning field of phoneography, events, and new cameras.
Incredible Photo Projects
The garbage men of Hamburg turned giant garbage bins into pinhole cameras with which to photograph the city, and the results are pretty stunning.
Some of the best macros in photography come from the mini science experiments that happen in artists’ studios. Here, Fabian Oefner mixed ferrofluid (liquified iron) with watercolors to make these absolutely amazing creations.
Singaporean photographer John Clang shot family photos with relatives who live countries away by projecting a Skype feed onto living room walls. Technology’s basically the best.
Two photography students, Josh Lake and Luke Evans, ate 35mm film. Images exposed onto the film while it was inside of them, and they processed the film after it, erm, came out, for some fascinating photos.
Rachel Hulin’s photos of her baby floating mid-air in various locations around and outside her home are probably the most stand-out levitation photos we’ve seen this year.
PARTY, a creative studio out of Japan, set up this photo booth that shoots you with a camera and then 3D-prints a figurine of yourself instead of a photo. The world needs more of these.
Jake Potts would rule the analog-digital photo-geek kingdom were there one. He removed the glass from the back of his iPhone and exposed a photo onto it using a wet-plate photo processing method that was born out of the 1800s.
Lumi’s Inkodye is one of our favorite things that took off this year. It’s a light-sensitive fabric dye that lets you print photos on fabric in almost any color.
Here’s a clever little add-on that fits into a DSLR’s tripod mount to make shooting with your left hand more comfortable.
This is one of those projects that makes you wonder why you hadn’t thought of it before.
Photoblogs and 365s
366 days of camera glitches. Beautiful, strange, and glitchy.
Maddie belongs to Theron Humphrey, a photographer that’s been traveling America for his project, This Wild Idea, 365 days of photographing strangers and telling their stories. He also shoots photos of Maddie, who can incredibly stand on seemingly anything.
Kevin Meredith goes by the moniker Lomokev because he’s just that well known for his work with toy cameras. These portraits are each a series of five collaged photos shot on a Lomo LCA with Kodak Portra 400 VC film, and they’re one of our favorite testaments as to why analog photography should stay alive.
Allen Fuqua makes charming and strikingly accurate recreations from movie scenes in Los Angeles and around the world.
At 19 years old, Alex came to our attention this year for his masterful self-portraits.
This duo collaborates on video-influenced photos coined as Cinemagraphs. It’s like a GIF, but more magical. Kevin and Jamie are continually coming up with new ways to play with this format, and it’s pretty impressive. (Check out Photojojo’s tutorial on making cinemagraphs.)
Curiosity on Mars
Curiosity is rigged with two high-tech cameras that stream images from Mars to Earth. This was the year we saw high resolution photos—panoramas, even—of Mars’ landscape, for the first time ever. It’s the kind of stuff that brings scientists to tears.
The 2012 Olympics
Not only did athletes break records in London, there were also mass feats of photography happening at the games. Everything from Reuters’ extensive robotic camera setups to art projects about abandoned Olympic stadiums around the world. Check out Photojojo’s roundup of the best photo projects that came out of this year’s games.
An interesting thing happened during Sandy: so many faux Sandy photos were shared on Twitter & Facebook that The Atlantic stepped in and set up a page of verified and unverified photos.
Photokina is like the Olympics of consumer photography. It occurs only once every two years in Cologne, Germany, when hundreds of thousands convene from around the world. We happened to attend this year. This is what we saw and who we met.
The iPhone 5
No one was really sure if the iPhone 5 was coming this year, but here it is. With it, there’s been a rapid boom of gadgets that give your iPhone all the gear that your DSLR has: all kinds of lenses, including an adapter to mount Canon & Nikon lenses to your iPhone, tripods, remotes, cable releases, video rigs, and boom mics. The Photojojo Store has a bevy of these iPhone 5 gizmos for the curious. Apps are developing just as fast to keep up: Snapseed, VSCO Cam, Flickr’s iOS app redesign, Twitter’s new photo filters, and the Facebook Camera app release, along with the $1 billion purchase of Instagram.
Analog photography isn’t forgotten. On the contrary. Polaroid launched their Z2300 instant digital camera, a camera that prints sticky-back instant photos that can be saved digitally. The Impossible Project, the company that salvaged Polaroid’s old factories, released 8x10 integral film, something no one thought would be possible. Meanwhile, Fuji’s Instax Mini and 210 has been growing increasingly popular.
Ikea’s Cardboard Camera
Ikea made this KNÄPPA cardboard digital camera as a promotional item, though we wish it was for sale. See the photos it takes.
Digital Cameras That Look Like Analog Rangefinders
Cameras like Fuji’s X100 mirorrless camera and their newer XF1, a point-and-shoot that looks like a vintage 35mm, and have been popular as alternatives to DSLRs. For something even smaller, check out the Classic Mini Digital Camera.
Cameras That Run on Android
Two cameras that run on Android came out this year, Samsung’s Galaxy Camera and Nikon’s Coolpix S800C. We got to play with them at Photokina this year. While they’re a good idea in concept (more focus on the camera with the editing and uploading capabilities of your phone), I’d like to see where this is going from here.